We gathered at the airport, the estimable Bob Chumley who did such a
marvelous job with the logistics and the reunion generally, and, despite
his really, really awful back condition, the other organizer who had
driven over from Kangaroo Flat! with his wife, Eric Hayward, & myself.
As plane times drew near the sense of keen anticipation became palpable
and at last our friends from the past hove into view. Michael Hutton
and Ken Kelley, looking I swear, not a day older than when I last saw
them, and later, the estimable Ted Drake, huger than ever dwarfing his
petite, lovely wife. Then the contingent from New Zealand, first and
foremost the estimable well-known Maxie Beare very kindly chaperoning
Joe Simms who had the misfortune to suffer a stroke ten years ago. Whilst
not badly incapacitated, he needs help with a lot of things and Maxie,
bless him, undertakes these chores without so much as an occasional
groan. Then someone I hadn't seen for 50 years, or more, John Reeseg,
looking fit as the proverbial, and his lovely wife Joan.
After coffee it was time to disperse and prepare for the first function
which was an early evening supper at a local beach bistro, where the
food is excellent quality and quantity, the liquid variety being the
same. It goes without saying that we all made the most of it and the
lamps were still swinging the following morning.
I think the nominal list will be easy to determine from a look at the
excellent various picture galleries provided by those fans of the digital
camera who make it all look so easy these days.
The eldest of us was Ralph Payne, who lives here in Adelaide. He is
a remarkable specimen, you would not take him for a day over 65 but
he is 80, exactly two months before me. His memory is about as good
as mine! but his car, a very posh Merc. is a good deal better. He brought
a lot of most interesting photographs to the luncheon in HMS Buffalo
which was our one really formal event. We met on the shore alongside
the ship and were then piped aboard, followed by a long drinks session
in the well deck before going in to the dining room where we were served
an excellent meal and where several toasts were proposed. This was indeed
an important bonding session. The word is so familiar in connection
with sporting occasions but it was also good for us, in that several
people determined there and then to be back for the next one...I should
just mention Ray Taylor, who, at the end of the last reunion, last year,
drove home to Northern Victoria, complained of feeling off colour, was
taken into hospital and had an interminable operation for bowel cancer.
We were comparing scars! and I have to say his is a lot worse than mine.
This year, he looks a million dollars, astonishing how much trauma the
body can withstand.
Despite the English Cricket eleven trying to make life difficult for
us (Barrie Baker went to the match on the Sunday) our festivities continued
with a Barbecue at the house of our host Bob Chumley, who, I might just
add, had put up four of those attending. This was a light hearted affair,
most enjoyable and from which, we unfortunately had to start dispersing
in the late afternoon. If only it could have been three days longer.
We feel that we have established a firm basis for all future reunions,
the next of which will be in March of 08., just to give everyone time
for financial renewal. There is a firm decision that anyone who wins
the Lotto between now and then will pay for the whole deal Honest Injun.
The next Lotto prize is for thirty three million dollars which should
adequately cover it.
If you've thought about a reunion, don't.....just DO IT, get on with
it. No matter what the difficulties may seem to be. The event more than
justifies the means.